Hamilton won’t settle for second to ensure title

2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t intend to settle for second place in this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix even though it would guarantee him the world championship title.

“I come into the weekend to try and win as I do every race weekend so nothing changes there,” said Hamilton in today’s press conference.

It’s the fourth time in Hamilton’s eight-year F1 career he has arrived at the final race with a chance of winning the championship, whereas team mate and title rival Nico Rosberg has never done so before.

“In terms of the pressure I don’t particularly feel any,” said Hamilton. “I think I’ve had plenty of experience through my racing career, over the whole 15-odd years I would say – actually it might be 20 years of racing – to be prepared for today. There’s no special recipe for it.”

Hamilton has qualified on the front row for four of the previous five Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, and won the race in 2011, but says he isn’t taking it for granted he will be as competitive this weekend.

“It’s a great circuit, it’s generally suited the car I had when I was back in McLaren years ago,” he said. “It’s definitely a track that has suited my driving style in the past but every year’s different. I hope to take that positive feeling into this weekend.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    34 comments on “Hamilton won’t settle for second to ensure title”

    1. Might Hamilton not be safer sitting behind Rosberg out of danger and taking 2nd place rather than leading which will force Rosberg to attack him possibly resulting in a Spa-esque incident?

      1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        20th November 2014, 13:17

        @tonybananas most likely that another accident on the track can take both Mercedes out, giving Lewis the WDC. Those who think Rosberg planned to puncture Lewis’s tyre are assuming Nico has some kind of mutant powers to calculate that move so precisely while driving at those speeds. It was a dumb accident, it was Nico’s fault for sure, but to think it was accurately and deliberately planned is absurd. And @tonybananas I’m not thinking you are wrong, or directing my words to you. I’m just commenting about all those old conspiracy theories.
        Of course there is a chance a clash between the two of them DNFs just one of them.

        1. burro-magnifico
          20th November 2014, 13:22

          People who endorse that theory forget about a lot of the brake lockups Rosberg has had this year with overly optimistic dives. There were a couple of moments in Bahrain where that almost became a different story

        2. I don’t think he was suggesting that ROS did it on purpose. However, if HAM is leading, ROS has no choice but to try to overtake. He needs finish ahead of HAM. This has a chance of leading to a crash.

          If HAM stays in 2nd, ROS can do nothing about it. It is out of his hands. This should give HAM a better chance of avoiding trouble, which is all he really needs to do to take the championship.

          So strategically, HAMs best options would be:
          1) If he starts in 1st, try to stay there but don’t take any risks in defending
          2) If he starts in 2nd, just stay there, don’t try too hard for an overtake.

          Of course, this is Hamilton, and he always wants to win.

        3. Could you imagine a repeat of Spa? Nico can’t afford to even attempt such a thing, If he thought the backlash from the fans after Spa was bad it would be nothing compared to that. I’m talking about backlash from neutrals, not Hamilton fans.

          Do I think he attempted to give Lewis a puncture on purpose in Spa? No, I don’t think he or any driver on the grid has the skill to do such a thing, However do I think he caused the contact on purpose? Yes. I think Nico knew if contact was made the chance of Lewis coming off worse was greater than hurting his car. The rear of the car has no protection for things like that, where as the amount of time lost for replacing a front wing was manageable with such a fast car. The only risk was that the wing goes under the car. Risk VS proving a point.

          The move was meant to “prove a point” unfortunately for Nico, it wasn’t the point he was attempting to prove.

          Of course this is just my opinion, we will never really know what was going through his head at Spa, what was clear though was that it wasn’t a good move for Nico, and I don’t think he would be looking to repeat such a thing.

        4. @omarr-pepper Martin Brundle thinks it was deliberate.

          It’s quite easy to hit a target within a tolerance of two feet, in an ultra-agile F1 car, when you’re an ultra-skilled F1 driver.

          1. @lockup No, just no. Chances of damaging your front wing are pretty much 100%, chances of giving the other driver a puncture are far less than that. We often see contact without having punctured tyres.

            I don’t know how one person allegedly thinking it was on purpose whould somehow be conclusive. That being said, I just re-read Brundle’s analysis of the incident and I can’t find anywhere in it that he thinks it is deliberate.
            He also explains that he talked to Pirelli. Pirelly stated that the chance of a puncture is pretty high when hitting the “small curve between the tyre tread and the side wall”, but that “the tread and sidewall itself (and of course the wheel) are much less likely to puncture”.

            So the tolerance isn’t anywhere near 2 feet. We’ve got a small contact patch, and maybe even more importantly, the drivers don’t even see their wing tips.

            1. @mattds Brundle says it was ‘a moment of anger and petulance’. He also says Pirelli told him the chance is 90% if you contact it at speed. Well a front wing endplate is 550 mm in length, that’s over a metre of tolerance. With a car passing only 5-10 m/s faster it’s very easy! 3 miles from the pits it’s a no-brainer as long as you’re unscrupulous enough.

              Take a look at the screenshot on Brundle’s page – NR is steering max right into Hamilton’s wheel. Only one frame shows that, it was so quick. Why do you think Martin chose it?

            2. @lockup if you’re going to try and deduct stuff, please do it well.

              As you have read from both my post and Brundles analysis, Pirelli has stated that the chance is only 90% if you can hit the “relatively small curve between the tyre tread and the side wall”. That is a seriously small contact patch, and it’s invisible to the driver as well. It is not “very easy”. You’re making that up. And if you insist, I’d like to actually see you back it up with some expert opinions.

              Now I’d like you to point out where Brundle states Rosberg purposely hit THAT spot with the explicit intent of causing a puncture, because I don’t see it.

              Rosberg didn’t want to budge, he made an error in judgement, that is what Brundle is saying. Not that Rosberg intended to give Hamilton a puncture, damaging his own front wing in the process.

            3. @mattds While I don’t think it was on purpose, I think it was possible to be done deliberately. While the target area is small, as @lockup pointed out the object he had to hit it with the over half a meter in length. And they might not know be able to see the corners of the car, but you can be damn sure they know exactly where they are.

            4. @mattds Rosberg is not trying to hit the tyre with a pin, is he? He’s using a blade 550 mm long. He can engage it anywhere along that length, front or back. The tyre is only at 19psi, the sidewall bulge will crush easily to expose the vulnerable band. He’d have to be positively unlucky to miss or only hit the wheel.

              Any race start shows the drivers know exactly where their front wings are. They have depth perception.

              It was an easy result to achieve, and at 3 miles from the pits heavily odds-on to put Lewis out and leave Rosberg 2nd at worst which is where he was already.

              Brundle said it was an act of anger and petulance. That is NOT an accident.

              And he posted the screenshot. Did you look at it? What else makes sense? And why did MB put that particular frame on his page?

            5. @fluxsource I’m sure they have an idea about where their wings are, but I’m not sure they exactly know it. As evidenced, the large numbers of front wing damages when they were still wider than this year.
              Furthermore the length of the endplates is less important. There will be a bigger chance of causing a puncture when hitting a tyre with the end plate tip (as it’s sharp and pointy), while laterally the chance will be lower.

            6. @lockup Before we go on I’d like you to point out where Brundle states that Rosberg had the intention of giving Hamilton a puncture.

              Thank you for providing this in your next post.

            7. @mattds
              “There will be a bigger chance of causing a puncture when hitting a tyre with the end plate tip (as it’s sharp and pointy), while laterally the chance will be lower.”

              While I’m sure this is true, we don’t have any information about how much more or less likely it would be. I maintain that it is possible to have done it deliberately, but that in this case it probably was an accident (albeit an aggressive accident).

            8. @fluxsource The reason I’m sure it was deliberate is the screen shot at

              Where Brundle says: “…having turned away initially, he then not only straightens the wheel but actually turns towards Hamilton. It was an instantaneous moment of anger and petulance.”

              It’s questionable how instantaneous it was, afaic, I think Brundle was trying to tread the line between being honest and a member of the F1 establishment. It seems more likely to me the initial move away was the instinctive one, then he thought about it.

              @mattds I’m not going to engage in point-scoring. You can accept the evidence, put forward other evidence, or hold your beliefs independently of evidence.

            9. @lockup this is not about point-scoring. @omarr-pepper stated that Rosberg did not “accurately and deliberately” plan to puncture Hamiltons tyre, you responded to him that Brundle does think that he did that deliberately. So all I’m asking you is to point me to where Brundle has stated that.

              Otherwise put: I will accept evidence, if you show it to me. That’s what I’m asking.

              @fluxsource I agree with that.

            10. @mattds omarr-pepper said Rosberg would have needed mutant powers. I’m pointing out that the physics of it show it was quite easy. The speed that matters is the relative speed of the cars, and the small size of the target has to be considered together with the huge size of the instrument.

              That’s evidence you’ve evaded so far, along with the evidence that Brundle provides of Rosberg *steering into* Hamilton’s passing wheel.

              I’ve already told you twice how Brundle said it was deliberate, but you don’t want to accept that ‘a moment of anger and petulance’ means that he did it deliberately. Challenging me to provide a specific nonexistent quote seems a bit insincere I gotta say. If Rosberg induced or even allowed the collision, it cannot possibly have been with the aim of taking off his own FW endplate and watching Hamilton drive off down the track with no damage.

            11. @lockup nothing insincere about it. My opinion is that you’re interpreting Brundle’s statements incorrectly. In my opinion he doesn’t say, nor mean, that Rosberg had the exact intent of slashing Hamiltons tyre. He certainly puts the blame on Rosberg, he certainly indicates he steered into Hamilton.
              But he does not reveal any opinion about Rosbergs desired outcome.

              You can argue all day (or weeks, or months), but that won’t change it.

          2. @mattds Brundle says “Rosberg’s action was guaranteed to damage his front wing so it would have been an own goal had he not punctured Hamilton’s tyre.”

            So you’re free of course to deny that means he thinks the outcome was deliberate. Maybe he thinks Rosberg is so moronic he just bashed his FW willy-nilly without doing the obvious calculations about what would follow.

            Perhaps Rosberg didn’t care if Hamilton drove on undamaged while he himself lost 20s getting back for a new front wing, as long as he got to go “POW!!” to himself when his wing hit :))

            I didn’t want him to be a cheat either, but sadly the evidence is that he’s one of the worst ever, despite his sweet face and his dad. I’m taking nothing for granted this weekend.

            1. @lockup still a whole bunch of “nope”.
              And even if, I could once again ask you why especially Brundle’s opinion is that important to you. Seems like everything stands or falls with Brundle.

              the evidence is that he’s one of the worst ever

              You seem to be pretty new to this whole F1 thing.

      2. Safer, maybe @tonybananas. But these guys are racers and want to win. Not play it safe.
        Apart from that, winning is the easiest way to claim the title for Hamilton.

        1. These guys are racers who want to win the championship. Winning is easier than coming 2nd? That’s an interesting one.

          Psychology does come into it though. Psychologically, pushing for a win is usually “easier” than driving for a particular position as it focuses the mind and removes doubt.

          I remember a interview with James Hunt when he was asked if his wins in US and Canada towards the end of 1976 season were inspired by a sense of grievance at being disqualified from the British Grand Prix and he said no, it was down to the fact that the title was at that stage such a long shot that he felt very little pressure and there nothing else for it to go for the win which removed the need for any real tactics or defensive driving. This year, Nico has that advantage, although I’m sure he’d swap for Lewis’s points advantage if there was a fairy godmother who could arrange such a thing

    2. Yes, to clarify, I am not suggesting Nico would attempt this deliberately, merely suggesting the potential risk for Hamilton is lower if he doesn’t push for the win, but you have a fair point. Lewis does not have the reputation for driving in such a defensive way. He has said publicly that he will only go for the win, but also that he is more experienced than he was last in contention for a WDC so might adapt to developing circumstance so I think it remains a question mark.

      1. I think he will go for the win, he will attack when he thinks there is an opportunity to do so, however I think if he feels the move might be to risky or he doesn’t have the speed to keep Nico behind after an overtake he may just sit patiently incase something happens or to finish second. That’s assuming of course that Lewis is behind Nico during the race. Nothing to say he wont be out in the lead anyway. Which for me at least, is an altogether more risky situation given that Rosberg needs to win or be in front of Lewis no matter what happens.

      2. He needs to push for the win, he has no other option. People seem to be forgetting that Nico is not the only threat. If Williams are on the pace again it only takes one slight slip for the Mercs to be under pressure.

    3. I really hope Rosberg win the title, but Hamilton really deserved to win it. Rosberg is a great driver, but Hamilton just spectacular, he could win 3 titles more (2007,2010, 2012) and this season. Rosberg still have long career and he may win title too, but he need to learn this year and raise his game.

    4. Hamilton is a racer, of course he wants to win every single race, but he really cannot afford to make necessary mistakes here. He has already made a number of those this season, usually resulting in a spin. There are certain parts of the circuit where spinning off could result in retirement. Rosberg can beat him in a straight fight, as Brazil proved, but Hamilton has beaten him on nine occasions this year. If I was him, I would cruise to second place and take the title, but I’m only a racing driver in the virtual world, not somebody designed to be a racing driver. Whatever happens, I just hope that it is clean, and it can be between these two, every race except Spa has proven that.

    5. I wonder if this race will have similarities with the 1984 Portugal GP, when Niki Lauda also had to finish second, if Alain Prost won, to be the champion.

      Niki started the race from a lowly 13th(-ish) and did recover second.

      I wonder if fate has something in store for Lewis on Saturday, so as to have him in a similar situation – and the viewers with a chance of a classic race.

    6. That’s great. I just hope he takes a moment to reflect on the daft move to pass Alonso at Subido do Lago on the outside that may have well cost him a title in his rookie year. Or, fresher in his mind, his half-spin at the same point two weeks ago that cost him a 14 point swing in this title chase. He doesn’t have to just hand a win to Rosberg, but he has to be in a very particular mindset here. No lunges from 30m back like in Austin into the braking zone.

      I think this is a harder place to put your mind than just going all out to win. Just a normal, good performance takes all of the skills and wits these guys have; so if you layer on a concern of ultra-care, that takes up more mental bandwidth and energy. But this is what he has to do.

      I just get a weird feeling about this race somehow. I’ve never been superstitious, but this is sport, and crazy things do happen from time. MB doesn’t finish 1-2 every time–something often happens to (or by) one or both cars. It’s far from certain that this will be a “normal” weekend such that the only issue here is who grabs that tenth on Saturday.

      1. Engine change ?

    7. I hope Lewis will be able to silence his mind and get in to Flow. After that point everything else will take care of itself. Before he knows it his engineer is on the radio to snap him out of it.. telling him he has done an extra lap and he is world champion!.

      But whether he can get in to the zone of hyper concentration in this coming race i don’t know. He worries me sometimes.

    8. When asked by a reporter what can you do to ensure no collision or anything else occurs during Sunday’s race. I noted Rosberg’s response was “Nothing!” Followed by.”Well Lewis can ensure he drives safely!”
      Considering the events of Monaco and Spa where Nico cost Hamilton the race on both occasions through his conduct, it is at least extremely hypocritical to respond with such a negative comment against his own team mate.
      Further more the atmosphere within the driver’s presser changed immediately after this comment from Nico who appeared to be seething with hatred. This ‘type of behaviour is unacceptable and a complete turn off to true F1 fans.

    9. I feel Hamilton deserves the title, but a DNF or something can happen. I sort of hope Nico wins the title, because it will intensify the battle between them next year. If Hamilton wins we might see Nico give in next year and accept a 2. driver status.

    10. If Lewis is settling for second, will Rosberg try and back him up into cars behind? Or invite a pass?

      And if so, will the team do anything?

      Schumi on Hakkinen at Macau just swam into my nervous brain.

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